By William for

MCPHERSON – Hosting Newton-Chisholm on Thursday, the McPherson Middle School seventh-grade boys basketball team came away with a split of two games in their season opener.

The highlight of the day was the games were played on the recently renovated McPherson Community Building basketball court, where the first ever Olympic gold medal team, the McPherson Refiners, once played in the 1930’s.

In the ‘A’ game, the Junior Pups scored a decisive 41-23 victory led by Gabe Pyle who dropped in 17 points for the evening while Hayden Hoxie pitched in with nine.

“It was an opening day that felt pretty special being able to play in the same gym as the first Olympic Gold Medal team,” noted Head Coach Tyler Brown on playing at the renovated Community Building Gym. “Gabe (Pyle) gave us a spark to start the game as he had nine of our first 10 points which helped settle the rest of the team down. Once that happened others started making their impact on the game as well. Hayden Hoxie and Brenden Doile hit from behind the arc with some sharp shooting and Bishop Brown came alive around the goal scoring all seven of his points in the second quarter to help give us a solid 27-10 halftime lead.”

Coach Brown concluded his ‘A’ team reflections by adding, “Hayden (Hoxie) continued with some sharp shooting in the third by hitting from behind the arc again and Ian (Razak) came alive scoring his five points in the third quarter as well. Carter (Allen) was big as well as he has been a lock down defender not just in tonight’s game but has been winning our defensive drills in practice as well. If we continue to hold teams to the low to mid-20’s in the point column, we may end up having a pretty good season. Hopefully the kind of defensive effort we had can continue each week.”

Only three Junior Pups scored in the ‘B’ game as Newton-Chisholm scored a runaway 47-16 victory.

Brenden Doile had an outstanding game as he scored 13 of the teams 16 points.

“The ‘B’ team came out a little slow tonight as we were just outsized and out matched,” said Coach Brown. “With basically our bigs out due to injury, we were forced to play five guards on the court a good portion of the game which made it tough to rebound. I felt the boys did a great job of getting that initial stop defensively, we just struggled to get rebounds which allowed Newton to have three to four shots each trip down the floor.”

Coach Brown concluded his reflections on the day by saying, “Offensively, if Brenden (Doile) wasn’t on the floor we really struggled to score. Brenden had thirteen of the sixteen points while playing only three quarters. The ‘B’ team must start showing they can box out and rebound as well as taking care of the ball if they want to start staying in ball games. I feel with such a difference in size, we will have to learn to play our zone extremely well to have a chance in games.”

Next up for the seventh grade Junior Pups will be a road trip on Monday to Salina South.

7th GRADE JUNIOR PUPS ‘A’ TEAM SCORING: Gabe Pyle – 17; Hayden Hoxie – 9; Bishop Brown – 7; Ian Razak – 5; Brenden Doile – 3.

7th GRADE JUNIOR PUPS ‘B’ TEAM SCORING: Brenden Doile – 13; Spencer Strecker – 2; Alec Harms – 1.

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(Post is SPONSORED by CrossDove Writers)